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    • The Parker River National Wildlife Refuge ( is a favorite spot for me. I volunteer in the visitor center, and I wander in the refuge to absorb the beauty. While it is a birding paradise, the attraction for me is a sense of peace.

      The 6-mile long beach is a nesting area for the endangered piping plovers. Each year on April 1st the entire beach is closed for the nesting season, reopening months later when the birds are finished with it.

      I love walking on the beach in the winter when there are more birds than people populating it. At this time of year I know I need to get my fill of beach walking at Parker River so I usually try to visit several times in March. Yesterday was one of those days.

      I arrived about an hour after low tide. That meant I had to pay attention to the ocean as I walked close to the beach / water boundary - the temperature of both the air and water was too cold to chance wet feet!

    • There weren't too many birds around as I started walking south on the beach. About a half-hour in to my walk I came upon a bunch of sanderlings feeding on the beach.

    • Sand dunes wore a coating of snow while the beach sand was clear. The tide does a good job of clearing the beach!

    • Just before I turned from the beach to the boardwalk to head inland, I grabbed a shot looking to the town.

    • You're probably right @Chris - that's something that I have been fighting for a while now. I haven't yet convinced myself of the need (as opposed to a desire) for a lens that I won't use as often as it should be used. At some point I will probably give in, just not yet!

      With the wind blowing sand around yesterday, even if I had a long lens with me I wouldn't have changed lenses in those conditions.

    • @Chris yup, you're right, I need a longer lens - even though I probably wouldn't have used it yesterday because of the need to change in the blowing sand!

      Here's a sanderling shot from years back when I was still shooting Canon and had a longer lens. Amazing that I caught the birds at rest - they are more often in constant motion.

    • Only 11 more days of beach access (at Parker River National Wildlife Refuge) remain for humans before the annual closure for the piping plover nesting season on April 1st. Yesterday felt like a good beach walk day so I headed to the refuge in the afternoon. I arrived 2 hours after high tide.

      The skies were bright blue. Looking out over the ocean there were no clouds; looking inland puffs of white decorated the blue.

      I feel the need for a beach day with clouds but I'll take the clear days too!

    • When I walked to the south I could see only sand and water; heading north I could see some other beach walkers in the distance.

    • I seem to have created a tidal pattern of my own. When I arrived at the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge yesterday - just a few days before the annual many month long beach closure - it was about 2 hours after low tide. With the tide rolling in I tried to keep an eye on the ocean with a plan of keeping my feet dry. The air was chilly at 49 degrees F and the wind was howling. I stayed dry but I did see someone walking in the water, brrr!

      I volunteer in the refuge on Sunday afternoons. I'm hoping for one more beach walk before I head to the visitor center. The weather wizard says it is going to rain on Sunday - here's hoping it's light rain and not a downpour.

      I love the patterns in the sand!

    • A short section of the beach at the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge reopened just over a week ago, from parking lot 6 south into Sandy Point State Reservation. Since at the time of the reopening the greenhead flies were still in full force, I decided to wait for my first visit. 

      If you're not familiar with greenheads, they are a type of biting horsefly that are commonly found on beaches near coastal marshes (at least here in northeastern Massachusetts). They are big, they bite, and they aren't scared off by insect repellent - even the nasty stuff with DEET in it. There are some rumors that Avon Skin So Soft works but most folks I have talked with who tried it says that it does not.

      On Sunday, I heard from three people at Parker River that the dreaded flies were gone. With yesterday's morning low tide set for 9:39 AM a morning walk on the beach sounded like a good idea. I shared the space with people and sea birds. 

      It felt good to be walking on my favorite beach again. I'm happy that the piping plovers have a safe nesting place but I'm also happy when the beach reopens. 

    • Part of the beach at the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge continues to be closed but a new section has reopened. Parking Lot 2 remains closed, and the beach between 2 & 3 (and part of the beach between 1 & 2) is also closed. While he piping plover nesting season is over, there are still least terns nesting.

      Yesterday I was able to park at Parking Lot 3 and walk south.

      I arrived 2 hours past high tide to the sounds of a wild ocean.

      Clouds on the inland side created paintings in the sky.